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August 21, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Unisys Corp is on the verge of announcing the sale of its South African operation to Mercedes Datakor Ltd of Johannesburg, but both companies are loath to talk about it until everything has been finalised. Datakor, which is owned by a group called Nick Frangos Investments, already has a relationship with Unisys in that it is the South African agent for the wide area network products from the Bluebell, Pennsylvania company’s late 1987 acquisition, Timeplex Inc, and has been operating in its present form since 1977. The bulk of the company’s business lies in marketing local financial terminals, and it is a substantial operation, with a total workforce of over 800 people. Datakor’s turnover in 1987 was around $40m, and a deal with Unisys would put it in a much bigger league, as the Unisys base provides revenue of around $140m per annum. Other groups such as Fintech Ltd and Anglo Vaal Ltd had been vying for the same prize, and Unisys says a deal should be completed some time this week. The top three suppliers in the South African market have consistently been IBM, the Burroughs arm of Unisys and ICL: IBM has already sold its South African business to local interests and it has since joined forces with the Hitachi mainframe reseller. ICL brought a local partner, the Malbak Pty industrial conglomerate in as a 50-50 partner in its South African subsidiary at the beginning of the year, but says that it has no plans to pull out of the South African market entirely.

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